Usually, when we shed a tear while watching a movie, we quickly try to wipe them away in fear of looking like a big crybaby. However, after you read this, you may begin shedding your tears loud and proud.
According to a recent study, 92% of people have shed tears while watching a sad movie. So, rather than crying being a show of weakness, it actually shows our ability to empathize with others. Being able to watch a movie, and then feel what the character shows that we are able to empathize with all people, regardless of whether they were in front of us or not.
In yet another study, it was found that in fiction movies, whether literary or cinematic, are able to increase our capacity for empathy. Why? Because when people are watching or reading a work of fiction, they are emotionally transported into the story, which in turn, would make them a part of the study.
Roger Ebert so eloquently stated that,
“We live in a box of space and time. Movies are windows in its walls. They allow us to enter other minds, not simply in the sense of identifying with the characters, although that is an important part of it, but by seeing the world as another person sees it.”
According to Psychology Today, when we watch movies we release oxytocin, which engages our brain circuits that grant us the ability to care for others, even if they are complete strangers. Furthermore, in an experiment, a graduate student Jorge Barraza had participants to watch a movie from the St. Jude’s Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee. During the video, a father explains how his four-year-old son Ben had terminal brain cancer.
In another study, it was found that people released 47% of oxytocin while watching an emotional part of a movie.
And it would be obvious that if we have the capacity to empathize with characters in fictional movies who don’t even exist, that our capacity for empathy is quite strong. Because of this, only strong minded individuals would be able to empathize with fictional movie characters. Empathy by itself is the most important example of emotional strength, and to be emotionally strong is to be a warrior.